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78 Reviews of Books 

hell. The modern idea of Progress was therefore impossible until the 
Cartesian and Newtonian philosophy established the notion of uniform 
natural law, and Locke's criticism of innate ideas seemed to make man 
the product of an environment that could be modified and indefinitely 
perfected with the increase of scientific knowledge. The great aim of 
the eighteenth century was to shape the ideas, the conduct, and the 
institutions of men in harmony with " nature " ; that is, to discover, by 
reason, as Voltaire thought, or by consulting the instincts of the heart, 
as Rousseau thought, or by studying the customs and institutions of men, 
throughout the world and in the past/ — by all of these means to discover 
those ideas and institutions that were most universal and hence most 
in accord with the " nature " of man. " What I have sought ", said 
Montesquieu, "is man in general." This is what the eighteenth cen- 
tury did — it went about with the lantern of enlightenment in search of 
man in general, convinced that the perfectibility of particular men 
depended upon their adopting the ideas and the institutions that were 
suited to man in general. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic 
Wars gave most people a marked aversion for man in general. " I have 
seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians ", said Joseph de Maistre, " but as 
for man, I declare I never met him in my life : if he exists he is unknown 
to me." This scepticism was deep seated in nineteenth-century thought ; 
and accordingly, if it did not abandon the dream of progress, it relied 
for it rather more upon an impersonal historic process, in which the 
" real was the rational and the rational was the real ", than upon the 
deliberate effort of man to shape his own destiny. 

It is possible that Professor Bury has not brought out this difference 
between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century ideas as sharply as it de- 
serves; but his exposition of the significance of the idea of Progress in 
the history of European civilization is so lucid that it leaves nothing 
to be desired. It is no accident that the belief in Progress and a con- 
cern for " posterity " waxed in proportion as the belief in Providence 
and a concern for a future life waned; the former belief — illusion if 
you prefer — is man's compensation for the loss of the latter. " The hope 
of an ultimate happy state on this planet, to be enjoyed by future genera- 
tions, has replaced, as a social power, the hope of felicity in another 
world." Professor Bury might have quoted the pregnant phrase of 
Diderot : " La posterite pour le philosophe, c'est l'autre monde de 
l'homme religieux." 

Carl Becker. 


Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England: the 
Wardrobe, the Chamber, and the Small Seals. By T. F. Tout, 
M.A., F.B.A., Professor of History in the University of Man- 
chester. Volumes I. and II. [Publications of the University 

Tout: Administrative History of England 79 

of Manchester, Historical Series, no. XXXIV.] (Manchester: 
University Press; London and New York: Longmans, Green, 
and Company. 1920. Pp. xxiv, 317; xvi, 364. $7.00 each.) 
The importance of administration in English history has long been 
obscured by the prevailing tendency to regard Parliament rather than 
government as the central theme of national development. And yet it 
was known to Stubbs, even better to Maitland, that the administrative 
system contained in the king's household was a seat of power, which 
was ever the special object of baronial and parliamentary attack. It 
was also apparent that the king's council was the embodiment of the 
domestic as well as the feudal principle of government. What then 
was the king's household and its place in the state during the thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries ? It remained for a French scholar, M. Deprez, 
in a suggestive treatise on the small seals, to point the way to this 
productive field of research. The study of seals led to records, and the 
records to official departments, wherein rested the curial, in distinction 
from the public or national, administration. Among several contribu- 
tions of note, that of Professor Tout, The Place of Edward II. in His- 
tory (1914), gave a forecast of the great work, of which two of the 
prospective four volumes are now before us. With no claim to the field 
of diplomatics, it undertakes first a comprehensive survey of the admin- 
istration connected with the household, and then an intensive study of 
the inner offices and their methods of business. It opens a new view of 
English history, and as an authority upon its special subject the work 
stands alone. 

In the discovery and treatment of material the problem in hand 
differs entirely from that in France, where under an autocratic monarchy 
a single unified chancery was evolved. The English system, on the 
other hand, was complex, wherein the king, as if driven from one line 
of entrenchment to another, set up various departments independent of 
each other, so that the records of exchequer, chancery, privy seal, and 
wardrobe are the product of diverse and often conflicting usage. A 
most valuable feature of Professor Tout's book therefore will be found 
in the luminous exposition of sources and authorities as set forth in a 
descriptive chapter on documentary material. Apart from its immediate 
purpose this should serve as a supplement to every existing guide to the 
public records. Certain illustrative documents also have been newly 
printed, among them the earliest wardrobe account (1224-1227), and a 
household ordinance of 1279. If there be any lack in the use of sources 
it seems to lie in the Memoranda Rolls of the Exchequer, which every in- 
vestigator laments cannot be read thoroughly without the aid of printed 

In general the household is depicted as the original home of all de- 
partments of administration. By steps barely traceable there went forth 
first the treasury and exchequer, and later the chancery. But that did 

80 Reviews of Books 

not preclude the king's chamber, the early treasure- room of the house- 
hold, from continuing its function of receiving and disbursing a con- 
siderable part of the royal revenue. The real discovery of the book 
comes with the wardrobe, which rose from a subdivision of the chamber 
to be the principal financial department of the household. More mobile 
than the chamber, it followed the king on his campaigns and so became 
the special treasury of military expenditures. As the keepers rendered 
account, an intimate knowledge of its operations is made possible. After 
the methods of the age, these accounts are precise in detail and full 
of instructive minutiae, but because of the confusion of arrearages with 
current items all totals and summaries are misleading. The sums thus 
handled averaged as much as £50,000 a year in the time of Edward II., 
but it was impossible for the king himself ever to know the exact state 
of his income. 

Still more remarkable is the revelation of the wardrobe as a secre- 
tarial department in connection with its custody of the privy seal. It 
was a unique feature of English administration that, instead of a re- 
duplication of the great seal, for the convenience of an itinerant sover- 
eign a lesser seal was adopted. As the chancery was by degrees removed 
from court, and as it became highly formalized in its operations and 
even put under constitutional restrictions, the utility of the minor seal 
was increased, until the two seals were expressive of rival systems. 
A certain confusion is now eliminated by the discovery that the original 
keeper of the privy seal was the controller of the wardrobe, who was 
also known as "secretary" under Edward I. In support of the theory 
first advanced by Deprez and subsequently disputed, new evidence is 
adduced to show that there was a method of enrollment of letters of 
the privy seal (vol. II., p. 80). It is remarkable however that no rolls 
of the sort have survived, and in view of the fact that letters of the 
privy seal are more frequently mentioned as kept in files, while writs 
like the subpoena were expressly objected to on the ground that they 
were not enrolled (Rot. Pari, IV. 84), we are still free to believe that 
any enrollment of privy seals was either a temporary or an exceptional 
expedient. In the case of lesser lords, it is true, letters of both seals 
were commonly enrolled, but that proves nothing with respect to the 
king, who alone maintained two separate offices. 

With clearness and originality there is apt to be excessive positive- 
ness. In points of controversy the author occasionally falls into the 
temptation of exaggeration by over-stating an opposing view in order 
the more sharply to challenge it. Thus the latest historian of the council 
hardly went so far, in word or intent, as to represent that body as "an 
executive office " or " a branch of the administration ", nor is it to be 
admitted that the system perfected only in Tudor times was to this 
extent anticipated (vol. I., p. 11; vol. II., p. 147). Still less satisfaction 
is felt with the view of Professor Tout himself that " Advisory and 

La Manila: Re Aragonesi di Sicilia 81 

executive functions approach most nearly in the permanent king's 
council which was always at his side to help him in dealing with prob- 
lems of government. . . . But the real function of the council was to 
give advice." This appears to ignore the essential fact that the council 
was at an early date withdrawn from court, and that, while there re- 
mained councillors with the king, the principal branch of the organized 
body was given a home among the courts at Westminster. Its partici- 
pation in administration and judicature was not the less real by being 
in the form of advice. The Tudors afterwards reversed this order by 
reviving and strengthening its connection with the household. 

Far from being wholly institutional, the work is replete with bio- 
graphical notices of bishops, barons, chancellors, keepers, and clerks. 
It reveals the wardrobe as the particular training-ground of a virtual 
civil service and an incipient bureaucracy. In the revolutionary period 
of Edward II. it traverses familiar ground. The net results of the 
baronial opposition were the depression of the wardrobe, the temporary 
revival of the chamber, and the removal of the privy seal from court. 
The further development of the small seals under Edward III. and 
Richard II. promises to be no less interesting, and the completion of the 
work to the revolution of 1399 will be eagerly awaited. 

James F. Baldwin. 

Codice Diplomatico del Re Aragonesi di Sicilia, Pietro I., Giacomo, 
Federico II., Pietro II. e Ludovico, dalla Rivolusione Siciliana 
del 1282 sino al 1355, con Note Storiche e Diptomatiche. Per 
Giuseppe La Mantia. Volume I., Anni 1282-1290. [Docu- 
menti per servire alia Storia di Sicilia pubblicati a cura della 
Societa Siciliana per la Storia Patria. Prima serie, Diplo- 
matica, vol. XXIII. ] (Palermo: Boccone del Povero. 1917. 
Pp. ccxv, 698.) 

The records of the Aragonese dominion in Sicily were once ex- 
tremely rich, combining as they did the administrative traditions of two 
of the earliest and most fully developed bureaucracies in Europe, yet 
such have been the effects of war and transfer and neglect that rela- 
tively little remains in Sicily itself. At Barcelona, on the contrary, the 
archives of the crown of Aragon are, for the last two and a half cen- 
turies of the Middle Ages, among the fullest in Europe, as scholars of 
other countries have begun to learn particularly through the publications 
of Finke ; and all who have had occasion to examine their long series of 
registers and cartas sueltas can testify to their admirable order and no 
less admirable administration. One could guess in advance that this 
rich store is the most important source of Cav. La Mantia's stout 
volume, in spite of his long researches at Palermo and in other Sicilian 
repositories. The great gap results from the loss of the registers of 
the Sicilian administration, save for a volume of 1282-1283 which had